The Government of the Federal Republic of Germany has contributed an additional US$ 94 million (€80 million) to two major UNDP programmes that are helping to stabilize newly liberated areas – the Funding Facility for Stabilization (FFS), which finances fast-track initiatives in areas liberated from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the Iraq Crisis Response and Resilience Programme (ICRRP), which promotes recovery and resilience-building.

This latest instalment brings Germany’s total contribution to both programmes to $263.2 million, making it the top supporter of UNDP’s work in this area.

UNDP Resident Representative for Iraq, Ms. Lise Grande, said:

Nothing is more important right now in Iraq than stabilizing the areas which have been liberated from ISIL.

“The task is huge. Electricity grids need to be rehabilitated, water systems repaired, rubble removed and schools and hospitals opened. Germany’s support comes at just the right time. Three million Iraqis are still displaced. Helping to improve conditions in their home towns is the first step in giving people confidence in their future.

Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany in Iraq, H.E. Dr. Cyrill Nunn, lauded UNDP’s stabilization programmes in Iraq as one of the most effective and efficient mechanisms in Iraq to lay the ground for the safe return of internally displaced persons, giving hope to those who strive for a normal life again.

I am happy to see Iraqi youth today taking the lead in shaping the future of their country. Germany is committed to support recovery in Iraq, but we firmly believe that it is the people of Iraq who will ultimately determine how successful and sustainable that recovery will be,” stressed Ambassador Nunn on his first visit to Mosul, on 12 December 2017, to review progress of stabilization work in Mosul, especially focusing on health and education projects.

Over 300 participants, mostly youth, gathered in Baghdad on 12-14 October 2017 to participate in UNDP’s Innovation for Development workshop.

Design Thinking and Lean Start-up methodologies were introduced as innovative tools to identify local development challenges and find solutions linked to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Iraq has adopted in early 2016.

Design Thinking is a human centered approach to planning projects and businesses. It depends on empathizing with target groups or customers, as well as visualizing ideas and solutions. On the other hand, Lean Start-up methodology focuses on learning about the customers and building sustainable projects around solutions and ideas.

The workshop provided an opportunity for participants to present their ideas to representatives of both the private and public sectors, such as the Office of the Prime Minister, Ministries of Youth and Sport, Industry, Labour and Social Affairs, Higher Education, and Planning, in addition to the Technology and Al-Nahrain Universities, Syndicate of Engineers, Chamber of Commerce and Ashur Bank. The participants were also informed about respective governmental and non-governmental opportunities and programmes.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) organized this workshop under its Innovation for Development Initiative, with funding from King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID) and in partnership with Zain Iraq, GigaNet and Frame Production House companies.

GardaWorld, a global leader in comprehensive security and risk management, has made its weekly security report available to Iraq Business News readers.

Prepared by GardaWorld’s Risk Analysis Team in Iraq, this essential report includes short- and medium-term outlooks on the security situation, reports and commentary on recent significant events, and a detailed overview of developments across the country.

Please click here to download the latest report free of charge.

For more information on how GardaWorld’s services can support your business in Iraq, please contact Daniel Matthews, Senior Director Iraq, at daniel.matthews@garda.com

GardaWorld, a global leader in comprehensive security and risk management, has made its weekly security report available to Iraq Business News readers.

Prepared by GardaWorld’s Risk Analysis Team in Iraq, this essential report includes short- and medium-term outlooks on the security situation, reports and commentary on recent significant events, and a detailed overview of developments across the country.

Please click here to download the latest report free of charge.

For more information on how GardaWorld’s services can support your business in Iraq, please contact Daniel Matthews, Senior Director Iraq, at daniel.matthews@garda.com

As the Iraqi Government celebrated its final victory over ISIL this week, IOM, the UN Migration Agency, released a new study, which shows that 90 per cent of displaced Iraqis are determined to return home. This is similar to the long-term intentions recorded in 2016.

More than 1.3 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) have returned to their places of origin so far in 2017. In total since the start of the crisis in 2014, IOM estimates that more than 2.8 million displaced Iraqis have returned, while more than 2.9 million people remain displaced.

The IOM study, Integrated Location Assessment (ILA) analyzes both displacement and return movements of conflict-affected people across Iraq. Approximately 2.1 million displaced persons and more than 1.6 million returnees, based in 3,583 locations across Iraq, have been covered in the assessment, which was carried out between March and May 2017.

Only in Basrah and Najaf did families report that they consider integrating into the local community, where they are displaced.

According to the findings, Anbar was the single governorate where most returns took place in both 2016 and 2017, followed by Ninewa in 2017.

Among the main findings, this study identifies that residential and infrastructure damage is widespread. Nearly one third of returnees are reported to have returned to houses that have suffered significant damage, and 60 per cent to moderately damaged residences. Regarding infrastructure, most damage appears to affect roads, followed by the public power grid and water networks.

By John Lee.

Diala State Company, which is part of Iraq’s Ministry of Industry and Minerals, has announced opportunities to invest in a steam iron factory and a ceiling fan factory.

(Source: National Investment Commission)

By John Lee.

Shares in Irish-based Petrel Resources were trading 20 percent down on Friday after the company said it had reached a settlement in respect of the disposal of 2.2 million Petrel shares by Amira Petroleum‘s advisers notwithstanding a lock-in agreement entered into on 19 August 2013.

According to the company:

 On 14 August 2013, the Company announced that it had agreed to acquire from Amira Petroleum N.V. (“Amira Petroleum”) a 20 per cent shareholding in Amira Hydrocarbons Wasit B.V. (“Amira”), the holder of a 25 per cent carried interest in certain oil and gas exploration and production licences in the Wasit Province of Iraq.

The consideration for the acquisition included the issue of 18,947,368 shares in Petrel (representing 19.82 per cent of the enlarged issued share capital of Petrel (“the Initial Consideration Shares”). The Initial Consideration Shares were agreed to be locked-in until the date of spudding the first conventional oil well in respect of Amira’s interest in the Wasit province (the “Spudding Date”) but that, if the Spudding Date had not occurred by 19 August 2018, Petrel could, amongst other things, elect to re-acquire the Initial Consideration Shares for a nominal amount.

As part of the agreement with Amira Petroleum, 2.8 million of the Initial Consideration Shares were, at the direction of Amira Petroleum, issued to its advisers in satisfaction of fees payable by Amira Petroleum (“the Adviser Shares”) and were subject to a lock in agreement as detailed above.

As of the date of this announcement, the Spudding Date has not occurred.

During December 2017, Petrel learnt that 2.2 million of the Adviser Shares had been sold between March and July 2017, notwithstanding the lock-in agreement.

The parties have reached a settlement and agreed that the vendors of the 2.2 million Adviser Shares shall make a payment of £100,000 to the Company (representing approximately 4.5p per Adviser Share sold).  The remaining Adviser Shares shall remain subject to the lock-in agreed in 2013.

This announcement contains inside information for the purposes of Article 7 of EU Market Abuse Regulation 596/2014.

(Sources: Petrel Resources, Google Finance)

USAID Counselor Thomas H. Staal, a former USAID Iraq Mission Director and now one of the agency’s top officials, returned to Iraq December 5-10 to advance U.S. efforts to help Iraq’s most vulnerable communities following the defeat of ISIS.

While in Baghdad, Staal met with government officials including Dr. Mahdi al-Allaq, Secretary General of the Council of Ministers, to discuss how Iraq can strengthen its support for minority communities.

Staal also met with United Nations representatives who are implementing U.S.-funded stabilization programs in Anbar, Ninewa, and Salah ad Din provinces.  He affirmed the U.S. government’s pledge to provide an additional $150 million to this effort.

With this new infusion of funds, the United States will have provided more than $265 million for stabilization projects and a separate $1.7 billion throughout Iraq for humanitarian assistance to Iraqis who were displaced by the ISIS threat beginning in 2014.

On December 6, Staal traveled to Erbil for a closer look at U.S. assistance to internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region.  After an initial meeting with the Ministry of Endowments and Religious Affairs, he sat down with NGO leaders and representatives from the Christian, Yezidi, Sabean-Mandean, Kakai, Baha’i, Zoroastrian, and Jewish communities to hear their concerns and needs post-ISIS.

By John Lee.

The 12th Economic Forum of the Iraqi-French Council of Businessmen [Iraqi-French Business Council] was held recently in Baghdad.

Dr. Sami Al Araji, Chairman of the National Investment Commission (NIC) opened the forum with a welcoming speech to the attendees including the Iraqi Minister of Trade, French State Minister for the Foreign Trade Affaires, the Iraqi Governor of the Central Bank and a number of governors, Vice Ministers, Consultants, Director Generals, Heads of Provinces’ Councils, Chairmen of Commercial Chambers and Unions, company owners and businessmen.

Mr. Jack Batist Lomowan, French State Minister for the Foreign Trade Affaires concentrated in his speech on the deep relation between the two countries and the serious wish of both governments to enhance this relation in various fields disregarding the big challenges Iraq is facing now.

He considered this meeting as a step towards the next donors’ conference in Kuwait. He also mentioned the most important French companies which are interested in working in Iraq in addition to the new ones that are eager to start business here. Oil & Gas, energy, water, and infrastructure are main sectors in Iraq in addition to agro industries and medication plus having the French TALS Co. for fund Insurance and protection for the French companies working in Iraq as France has landed Iraq $450-billion aiming at supporting the Iraqi-French relations specially after the Iraqi Prime Minister visit to Paris last October.

He ended his speech by referring to the importance of mutual trust bursting from real political desire of the two leaders to move ahead with the two countries relation and find mutual responsibility and in common interests.

Mr. Raghib R. Blaibil, head of The Iraqi- French Council of Businessmen, considered this forum is a precious opportunity for Iraqi and French businessmen to meet and discuss the fruitful business potential for both sides. He also mentioned the improvement in the economic situation after defeating ISIS in Iraq and the victory our security forces achieved on the ground.

The will be for reconstructing, bringing the displaced back to their homes and the elevated oil price are strong factors encouraging us to invite the French companies to work and invest all over Iraq strongly and freely with no hesitation or fear.

Mr. Blaibil addressed the French airlines companies to start a direct line between Baghdad and Paris after the Iraq opened its airs to the international civil aviation.

The Iraqi-French Council of Businessmen representative Mr. Arnold Brolack inquired about sectors Iraq is willing to invest with the French side and what Iraqi aid is available to achieve tangible results after unifying the two parties’ views.

Mr. Ali Al Alaq, Governor of the Central Bank, long speech emphasized on the successful financial policies of the Central Bank of Iraq during the past years. These policies, in cooperation with the Ministry of Finance, saved Iraq from the sudden oil price drop shock and unstable economic situation.

Dr. Mahir Hamad, Vice Minister of Finance, and Mr. Faisal Al Haimis, Director General of the Trade Bank of Iraq gave their speeches too.

Dr. Sami R. Al Araji ended the first session works with a detailed presentation of strategic opportunities available for investment in Iraq.

The second session started later where bilateral discussions between the Iraqi and the French parties in different economic sectors took place.

French Alstom Transport Co. signed two memoranda of understanding with local governments in Baghdad and Basra provinces to build modern metro with international specifications.

(Source: National Investment Commission)